Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nora -- 6 months old!


A half-year. Time moves so fast with a baby. I can't believe my sweet Nora girl is already 6-months-old. 



This past month has been a challenge with her, to say the least. Nora has struggled to sleep during the day and night. Our once awesome sleeper started sleeping in 40/50 minute stretches and getting up as many as 11 times in a night. It's been a struggle to cope, especially figuring out how to take care of two kids and work with almost no sleep (let alone blog).


A friend finally suggested reflux and a lot of symptoms clicked. I think because Nora was so content during the day -- even while exhausted -- that reflux hadn't really crossed my mind. But, sure enough we had her evaluated and she was officially diagnosed. She was put on Prevacid and her sleep improved immediately...then she got the flu (which we are still getting over and it's all gone down hill again.)


Despite the sleep set backs and reflux, Nora is amazing. She's 16 pounds 3 ounces (54 percent) and 24.75 inches (11 percent). She wears 6-9 month sizes tops and 3-6 month pants, and she just moved to a size 3 diaper. Nora still nurses around the clock, like its her job. But we haven't started solids yet, so that might change things. 


Nora is very even keeled, its hard to make her too happy or too sad. She seems to go with the flow most of the time. Nora has had some stranger danger issues and is leery of new situations -- including a nearly 2 hour scream fest at Thanksgiving. She's not really moving too much yet {a welcomed change from Henry} but loves to sit up. She is sitting unassisted but needs help getting up. Every now and then she still flops backwards, but usually because she wants to roll around. She is very good at rolling to her belly but its harder for her to roll to her back. Nora loves to chat, but isn't saying "mama" or "dada" yet, just lots of screaming and babbling.


Nora's favorite things still include Henry and the dogs. But, she also loves paper, reading books and anything meant for Henry to play with. She seems to be rejecting a lot of her baby toys and wanting bigger "kid" stuff. We also started offering Nora work this month on her shelves, but I'll save those for another post! She is also enjoying some time in her exersaucer, but has rejected her swing, bouncy and bumbo.


Also, poor second kid syndrome, I don't think I took a single picture (other than her month pictures) with a real camera, cell phone pics will have to do!


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry {Awkward} Christmas

What is it about cameras that make 3-year-olds crazy? Seriously? Have you tired photographing a 3-year-old lately? They either get so completely goofy that you can't get a decent picture, they completely forget how to smile, or are just downright awkward. 

Some classic 3-year-old "smiles" include 

The Buck Teeth


The Vacant Stare 


The "I'm-smiling-so-hard"


The Bored


The "Where-am-I-looking-now"


The "What?"


Then, every now and then the 3-year-old surprises you. The charm come out, the love shines through and you get the perfect Christmas card {from Tiny Prints}.



So, instead of "Merry Awkward Christmas" you get "Merry Everything Because I am Beyond Blessed!" 


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Monday, December 8, 2014

8 Ways to Learn with Beads

Looking for an easy way to incorporate some Montessori inspired learning into your home? Try using beads! I love beads. Because they come in so many varieties, you likely have some already and they are super cheap. 

montessori, practical life, beads, preschool

I used a bunch a beads in this post, but really you can use whatever you have. Depending on the size of the beads, these activities can work for toddlers or preschoolers. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Spooning 


For this, all you need is two cups and a spoon. Have the child transfer the beads from one cup (from left to right) to the other. Use smaller beads and spoons for older children and larger ones for toddlers. This is great for learning skills needed for eating and other fine motor work. I used glass cups, a glass spoon and small glass beads


Counting


Use beads as counters! They help children learn that numbers represent actual amounts. This might be best saved for preschoolers. I used glass tile numbers and silver, plastic beads.

Tweezing 



All you need is some cups, beads and a tweezer! The tweezing motion promotes important fine motor skills and muscle development that is needed later for writing! Just pinch from left to right. Younger children could use tongs instead of small tweezers. 


Pouring 


I used two small glass pitchers so beads could be poured between them. This helps with hand-eye coordination and control. And, you know what's nice? Preschoolers that can pour their own drinks!

Color Sorting


Use beads to reinforce color matching! For older preschoolers, use them to introduce rainbow order. Here, I used a divided tray, felt, and {my favorite} colored wooden beads


Lacing 


This one is perfect even for the youngest toddler. Use a shoestring, rope, or ribbon and any size bead. The larger the bead, the easier for toddlers. You can even work pattern learning into this one! Here, I used a rope and large wooden beads. 


Sensory Bin


This is perfect for open ended play, fine motor control, and cultivating creativity. This is perfect for children of all ages. Let them lead! I used colored beads, added scoops, tongs and buckets.


Transferring


This is a particularly big hit with young toddlers. It's all about transferring bead from a smaller container into a hole in a larger container. It requires them to move the bead upwards and into a smaller space. Here, I used plain wooden beads and an old deli container.


These are just a few of the many ways that you can learn with beads! How do you use beads in your home? 
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